Max Verstappen heads to Red Bull Racing's two 'home' races in good heart, with his results in Canada and Azerbaijan helping to erase memories of his Monaco misfortune.
The Dutch teenager went from F1 high to F1 low in the space of a fornight when he followed a debut Red Bull win in the Spanish Grand Prix with a brace of accidents that removed him from both qualifying and the race in Monaco. However, with a strong run to fourth in Montreal - where he fended off championship leader Nico Rosberg to the chequered flag - and further points with eighth in Baku, Verstappen feels that he is back on track ahead of the next 'double-header' in Austria and Britain.
“I think Canada and Baku were pretty positive for me," the 18-year old agreed, "I enjoyed my defence in Canada and was happy with fourth. It was a really good feeling to have Nico behind me and be able to defend my position. In Baku, menwhile, it was a tricky start, but a good end."
With a weekend off to recover from the tight confines of the Baku street track, Verstappen heads to the comparatively wide-open spaces of the Styrian mountains for next weekend's Austrian Grand Prix where, despite the Red Bull Ring not necessarily favouring Red Bull Racing, he expects to have plenty of support.
“It might not be the most ideal circuit for our car in terms of performance, but it's still very enjoyable," he noted, "Last year was actually a very good race – I qualified seventh and then eventually finished eighth, so it wasn't too bad. You don't have so many corners, but the elevation changes makes it pretty special, and now, driving for Red Bull, you feel that even more as it's our home GP and you feel very welcome by the fans. I think, this year, there are a few Dutch fans who are coming over, so I'm looking forward to it."
Less than a week after he, hopefully, crosses the finish line in Austria, Verstappen will roll out for practice at the circuit closest to Red Bull's base in Milton Keynes, and it's another that he is looking forward to.
“Driving at Silverstone feels a little bit like Spa - it's old-school but also has newly built facilities and modern run-off areas," he commented, "When you do a really nice, clean lap, there it feels pretty special, especially through the fast sections. It's a real drivers' track. You arrive at the corners with a lot of speed, so it's very difficult to find the right line and the track is always changing so you have to adapt to the circumstances. It's very challenging.”
After his points in Montreal and Baku, Verstappen heads to Austria sitting sixth in the overall standings, his 54-point haul keeping him ahead of recent podium finishers Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez.